As an author and critic, David Thomson is best known for The New Biographical Dictionary of Film and Have You Seen ?: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films. He's also authored a series of brief biographies of classic Hollywood movie stars for Faber & Faber (e.g., Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman). The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood takes readers on a unique, often idiosyncratic, occasionally tangential ride through Hollywood's colorful history. His latest book-length essay, The Moment of Psycho, offers a fascinating look at a key film in Alfred Hitchcock's fifty-year career as a filmmaker.

Ambitiously subtitled "How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America How to Love Murder," The Moment of Psycho revisits the cultural, social, and financial constraints Hitchcock faced when he tried to get Psycho greenlit after the cancellation of two other projects. Paramount refused to finance Psycho, leading Hitchcock to partner with Universal. Trading gross points for a smaller, up-front salary, splitting ownership, hiring actors at less than their usual salaries, and shooting in black-and-white with a crew culled from his television series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Hitchcock had almost complete control over Psycho, with one exception: the Hays Office.
categories Features, Cinematical